A STRING of violent incidents have compelled police to order a Dudley pub to close for at least three months.

Police have taken action against The Crown in Simms Lane after calls to the premises increased almost tenfold in 2018.

Officers have attended a catalogue of more than 17 incidents in recent months including reports of drug dealing, anti-social behaviour, fights involving weapons and criminal damage.

On October 20, a man was assaulted with a metal bar on the car park and CCTV of the attack was later stolen at knife-point.

Violence erupted again on Saturday, October 27, sparking a flurry of calls to police concerning men armed with machetes, and cars ramming into parked vehicles.

Two men who sustained serious injuries in the disorder remain in hospital.

In light of the escalating violence, senior Dudley officers signed a closure notice the following Wednesday under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Today (November 8) police attended Wolverhampton Magistrates Court and asked them to review the licence in a bid to stop crime and disorder at the venue escalating.

As a result of the hearing, the pub has been ordered to close for a three-month period.

If the pub fails to address the issues raised, magistrates will make a final decision on whether the Crown must stay shut.

Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner, Dudley Borough police commander, said the enforcement action taken together with Dudley Council reflected a relentless priority focus on tackling violent crime and is also intended to improve life for local residents who live nearby.

She said: "The licence holder and duty manager of The Crown had a duty to protect their customers but failed to do so, resulting in serious acts of violence against innocent people.

"The incidents at the pub led to us taking this robust enforcement action in conjunction with Dudley Council to keep our communities safe from harm.

"Violence has no place in this borough and we will continue our relentless endeavours to tackle it."

James Jones, Dudley Police’s licensing sergeant, acted quickly to secure a closure as soon as the problems worsened.

Following today’s hearing, he said: "The violence spiralled in a short space of time, and because The Crown is on a residential estate opposite a school it was really worrying for everyone living nearby.

"Within ten days of the first serious incident we had signed a closure notice and started legal proceedings.

"The outcome means the pub will remain closed for at least three months.

"We’ll be working closely with the owner who is going to refurbish the pub and remain hopeful it will reopen as a family pub for locals to enjoy."